Women's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Bridgeport Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

Bridgeport Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns
Robert Morris will be Connecticut’s first of many victims this March. The Colonials won the Northeast Conference Tournament and are back in the NCAA Tournament after a one year absence. Two years ago Robert Morris lost to Notre Dame in the first round. A similar result will happen here. Niki Stamolamprou is the player to watch for Robert Morris. She is averaging 13.8 points, 3.4 assists and 5.5 rebounds during her junior season, but RMU just cannot match up with Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and company. This one will be over before it even begins.
#8 Seton Hall vs. #9 Duquesne
Both Seton Hall and Duquesne may not like their potential second round game against Connecticut, but for these two programs, getting one NCAA Tournament win is a great step in the right direction. Seton Hall made an NCAA Tournament appearance last year, where they lost to Rutgers, but before that spent a lot of years in the NIT. Duquesne also has a long history in the NIT and finally broke through to the NCAA Tournament after seven straight years in the NIT. This will be a game of great senior guard play with Tabatha Richardson-Smith and Shakena Richardson leading the way for the Pirates and April Robinson leading Duquesne.
Chattanooga did not have a great season based on their standards from the previous few seasons, but the Lady Mocs still play great defense. They hold the opposition to just 52.9 points per game. With Jasmine Joyner in the paint blocking shots, it is never easy to get easy buckets against Chattanooga. Mississippi State will look to Victoria Vivians and her 17.2 points per game to attack the basket and attempt to neutralize Joyner in the paint. The Lady Bulldogs have no problem with a slower moving game and they simply have more talent than the Lady Mocs. Chattanooga is a good team who could beat some other five seeds, but this is a tough matchup for them and it does not help that they have to play in Starkville.
Speaking of bad matchups, Belmont is a team that shares the ball well, can score quite a few points and hit the glass very effectively. Unfortunately for them, the Spartans basically do the same thing, but better. The Bruins have a lot of size, especially for an Ohio Valley Conference team, but Michigan State can match them and bring more athleticism to the table too. Look for a high scoring game with Aerial Powers and Tori Jankoska leading the way for Michigan State. Belmont’s trio of Darby Maggard, Kylee Smith and Sally McCabe will score plenty too, but not enough to beat Michigan State.
If there is an 11 seed or higher that is going to win a game in this region, it will likely be Colorado State. The Rams are 31-1 on the year, with their lone loss coming against NCAA Tournament team Penn. This is not a team that has been tested very often and their best win on the year is against BYU. Still, going 18-0 in any conference is an impressive feat. With Ellen Nystrom controlling tempo and spearheading a very good defensive team, South Florida needs to be careful when these two meet in Los Angeles. The Rams will not let Courtney Williams drive to the basket too easily, so it is important for Courtney Williams and her South Florida teammates to knock down some outside shots in order to loosen up the Colorado State defense.
#3 UCLA vs. #14 Hawaii
After three straight NIT appearances, Hawaii finally took the next step and reached the NCAA Tournament. The big step of actually winning an NCAA Tournament game though will probably have to wait until later. The Rainbow Wahine travel to UCLA to take on the Bruins. UCLA heads into the NCAA Tournament with a 24-8 record, including a 14-4 mark in Pac-12 play and will be a tough game for Hawaii. The Bruins have three big-time scoring threats in guards Jordin Canada and Nirra Fields and forward Monique Billings. Hawaii is a very good team on the glass and have an impressive +9.4 rebounding margin thanks to the size of centers Megan Huff and Kalei Adlopho and the athleticism of wing Destiny King, yet the Bruins are a big team too and should be able to take away Hawaii’s best asset.
#7 BYU vs. #10 Missouri
Missouri is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 and they hope to stick around for at least a little while. The Tigers share the ball extremely well and are capable of getting hot from long range. This is a young team though and freshmen Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter will need to make sure the bright lights of March do not make them play like freshmen. BYU has had a tough few weeks and enter the NCAA Tournament with two of their six losses coming in their last four games. Lexi Eaton-Rydlach is one of the best purer scorers in the country and she is a smart senior who has been to the NCAA Tournament a couple times already. That experience is huge and expect a big day from Eaton-Rydlach.
#2 Texas vs. #15 Alabama State
There is never a good draw in women’s basketball when you are a 15 or 16 seed, but things certainly could have gone worse for Alabama State. The Lady Hornets are making their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Last year they were a 15 seed as well and lost 91-49 to Florida State. The end result should be about the same this year. Alabama State does boast a couple good big players in forward Britney Wright and center Jasmine Peeples. They will certainly have their hands full Texas’ Imani Boyette, but at least Alabama State has some size and experience so Boyette will not be able to dominate as much against a team like Alabama State has she could against some guard oriented 15 and 16 seeds. That could shift the pressure towards players like Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins to do more of the scoring for the Longhorns. And they will be ready to take care of business against Alabama State and move on to the second round with relative ease.